Kurtis Guthrie scored a last gasp winner as Jersey Bulls and Stevenage played out a thriller in what was the Bulls’ inaugural game.
A large Springfield crowd didn’t have to wait long for the Bulls to bang in their first goal. In the 7th minute Karl Hinds found space and fed an incredibly smart through ball to Fraser Barlow, who tucked it past the trialling keeper before wheeling away in celebration.
Hinds could have doubled moments later but fired his effort over the bar from 6 yards out, as the Jerseymen continued their high intensity game.
Jack Griffin, who was later named man of the match, had two stabs at the ball with both efforts being blocked, before rising star Sol Solomon tested the visiting keeper.
Stevenage, who’s side was a mix of trialists and regulars, started to come into the game, with one trialists free kick going inches wide.
In the 31st minute the referee Shelby Elsom awarded the visitors a penalty for an alleged handball. Charlie Carter stepped up and tucked the penalty away, sending Euan Van Der Vliet the wrong way.
Carter should have had his brace when he was picked out at the back post, but he guided his header wide. Liam Smyth was denied by a heroic double save by Van Der Vliet, who shone throughout.
HT: Bulls 1-1 Stevenage
Van Der Vliet, who has played for St Pauls all of his senior career, was called into action early in the second half, fingertipping the ball onto the crossbar, with everyone else watching in awe.
That save turned out to be even more crucial a minute later as Bulls retook the lead. Lorne Bickley was picked out with a fantastic pass, and expertly smashed his half volley into the bottom corner.
Emmanual Sonupe went close for the visitors after smart footwork as Stevenage brought on Guthrie to try and shift the flow of the game.
In the 62nd minute Stevenage did equalise, with Danny Newton stabbing in after a classic goalmouth scramble, in what was a very soft goal for the Bulls to concede.
The score-line didn’t stay the same for long. Five minutes later Jonny Le Quesne, after being slotted in by Bickley, calmly scored Bulls’ third goal.
However, the lead was held for less than a minute with Ben Nugent firing an absolute long-range rocket into the top corner, leaving Van Der Vliet with no chance.
Van Der Vliet denied Guthrie with another fine save, but Guthrie would have the last say in what was a manic game of football. The Jerseyman got beyond the Bulls defence after a clever flicked through ball, and showed his class by passing it into the goal in the 89th minute.
This was a fantastic watch for the fans, and despite the result, a perfect opener for Jersey Bulls FC. The Bulls are back in action Tuesday 16th July, kick off being 7pm, as we welcome potential future Premier League stars in Leicester City u23s.